RAISING THE ROOF IN VICTORIA August 2013
Occupying a prestigious address in central London, 62 Buckingham Gate is a landmark office development which resembles a jewel, with its tilting, prism-like glass façade, topped by a state-of-the-art Roof Screening solution, courtesy of Levolux.
62 Buckingham Gate is central to Land Securities’ regeneration of Victoria, which will transform an area stretching east from Victoria Station, along Victoria Street. It is an eleven storey mixed-use development, offering 256,970 sq ft of prime office space, with 15,250 sq ft reserved for street level shops and restaurants.
The BREEAM ‘excellent’ rated development, conceived by Pelli Clarke Pelli and Swanke Hayden Connell architects, is surprisingly spacious yet sympathetic to the environment and considerate to its neighbours. This is perhaps best demonstrated by focussing on its roof, which performs a number of important functions.
As the UK’s leading screening and solar shading specialist, Levolux was invited to help develop the custom screening solution to satisfy the client’s challenging brief and planning requirements. The solution comprised the integration of Aerofoil Fins, Ventilation Louvres and PV integrated glass panels, all applied at roof level.
Unusually, the roof comprises four interconnecting, angled elements, continuing a carefully fragmented aesthetic that extends up the building and across its roof. As the building is overlooked from above and on all sides, it was important to screen unsightly roof plant and equipment from view.
Most of the plant and equipment on the roof, such as chillers and air handling units, is confined to two areas, in the east and west. These items are concealed from view beneath a highly ventilated enclosure, comprising Levolux’s Aerofoil Fins and Ventilation Louvres.
More than 400 extruded aluminium Aerofoil Fins have been incorporated into almost 100 panels, which combine to form two large screening canopies. The Fins, each measuring 400mm deep by 77mm thick, are aligned vertically, with a maximum spanning capability of 5.6 metres.
Under cover of the Fins, plant and equipment receives optimum ventilation, allowing it to operate efficiently all year-round. This has been achieved by fixing the Fins at 450mm centres and angling them at 90 degrees to the horizontal.
Levolux used its Infiniti® Fin system to incorporate 64 ‘acoustic’ Fins, each with the same size and profile as others, but with a perforated portion, containing an acoustic infill material. These are concentrated in an area to help control noise transmission.
Elsewhere, running around the perimeter of the roof enclosure, is a continuous ventilated façade featuring Levolux’s Ventilation Louvres. Contour Ventilation Louvres, formed from extruded aluminium with a sleek “S” profile, are fixed horizontally, set at a pitch of 100mm. The Louvres are angled to give them a 65% free area, which delivers optimum airflow and weather-ability.
The height of the louvred façade varies as it follows the undulating roof canopy, from just 1.9 metres, rising to 6.1 metres. Six integrated louvred doors provide easy means of access to the plant areas for service and maintenance.
In addition, to support and encourage local wildlife, a series of Sparrow nesting boxes and bat tubes were integrated into the Ventilation Louvres.
The final component of Levolux’s solution, and perhaps the most impressive, is the supply and installation of PV (photovoltaic) integrated glass panels. A triangular, south-facing area on the roof is reserved entirely for generating renewable energy from PV integrated glass panels. The fixed installation of glass panels, embedded with polycrystalline photovoltaic cells, is divided into two independent arrays.
The combined arrays of PV modules were specified to generate an output of 27.8MWh (mega watt hours), of electricity per year to be used within the building itself, upon demand.
Each array of PV modules is linked to an inverter and is monitored by the Building Management System (BMS). The entire PV system is fully automatic and virtually maintenance-free, with no moving parts.
The PV integrated glass panels are secured to an area of the roof which is inclined at an angle of 9.5 degrees. Triangular-shaped ‘dummy’ glass panels have been added to fill awkward gaps along the outer edge, completing the installation and delivering a cohesive appearance.
For long lasting good looks, all Aerofoil Fins have been given a cool satin silver anodised finish and all other aluminium components, such as the Ventilation Louvres and aluminium copings, feature a metallic silver powder coated finish.
62 Buckingham Gate represents a new generation of city centre office development, which is energy efficient, attractive and above all, considerate to the environment and its neighbours. The Levolux roof screening solution displayed on this building sets an example for others to follow.